All hail Spain, the kings of football
“In my job we run out of superlatives,” SBS commentator Martin Tyler said after the Spanish demolition of Italy. The Iberian reign of world football continues to expand and enthral those who love their football.
Ironically, the last team described as the best in the world also cemented their status with a 4-0 win over Italy.
That was a Pele-led Brazil in the 1970 World Cup, which until recently had the universal tag of best national side ever.
While it is hard to compare eras, Spain 2008-2012 should rightfully be included in any future discussion on this subject.
The Spanish football team has come a long way since the 2006 World Cup when they were knocked out in a horrible second-round effort against France.
It seemed like the Spanish mediocrity would continue with Euro 64 being their only solace despite the quality of Spanish football.
Luis Aragones and Vicente Del Bosque, however, have taken a spirited team and turned them into a world force.
The underachievers are now the force and are the first side to defend their European Championship crown and win three consecutive major championships.
The way they spanked Italy was the perfect example of what they have created.
Their passing game is immaculate; their movement has made mincemeat of countless sides; and their defence is rock solid.
Italy, the surprise packet of the tournament, could not keep up and wilted under the sarcophagus of the Reds.
Along with Queensland’s first half in State of Origin game three last year, it was the most dominant half of football by any side I have seen.
From keeper Casillas to the striker partnership of Silva and Torres, this unit monstered Gli Azzurri, giving the Italians no space all night and forcing turnover after turnover.
In possession, they were dead accurate and toyed with the Italian defence.
Importantly, this Euro win was achieved without their mainstay’s Carlos Puyol and David Villa, who were missing with injury.
What made Spain’s achievement at Euro 2012 more interesting was it wasn’t their best all round performance.
Doubts were raised that they lost their potency and there was criticism for not playing Fernando Torres in the semi final.
But like all good teams they won where they maybe shouldn’t have got points and turned on the champagne football when it was required.
What does the future hold for Spain?
Who knows, they may fall away before Brazil in 2014.
They might get better, which would be a scary proposition.
But until then, all we can say is Dios te salve, España, los reyes del fútbol (Hail Spain, Kings of Football).
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